It's awesome, somehow, that Liam Neeson (along with some nifty marketing, it's true) can open an action movie to the tune of $24.6 million. Maybe it's the fact that Taken's debut at #1 comes after two depressing weeks when Paul Blart: Mall Cop inexplicably dominated the charts (and indeed, Paul Blart continues to rake in big bucks, falling off only 35% to second place). Taken opened in just about every other part of the world in 2008 and has already grossed nearly $70 million worldwide; put this one into the win column for Luc Besson and his production team.

The Uninvited's third-place, $10.5 million bow is a disappointment -- to Dreamworks, but also to me, since I think it's superior to most of the PG-13 horror that's been doing so well lately. (Certainly it kicks The Unborn's ass six ways from Sunday.) I think the advertising was a bit too stately, emphasizing Elizabeth Banks in creepy mode rather than the shock effects that tend to draw the crowds. Not a tragedy for the relatively inexpensive film, but perhaps a missed opportunity.

New in Town was defeated by a beatdown of scathing reviews, a wimpy, girly-man 1900-screen release, and a marketing effort that wasn't up to the task of capitalizing on Renee Zellweger's star power. Zellweger eats $6.75 million for breakfast.

For the first time since January 9th, Slumdog Millionare made less than it did the previous weekend, but it's up to a not-too-shabby $67 million cume. I wouldn't rule out $100 million before it leaves theaters.

The full top 10 after the jump.

1 - Taken (Fox) - $24.63 ($7,736) - $24.63
2 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) - $21.50 ($6,838) - $64.80
3 - The Uninvited (Dreamworks) - $10.51 ($4,485) - $10.51
4 - Hotel for Dogs (Dreamworks) - $8.71 ($2,755) - $48.23
5 - Gran Torino (Warner Bros.) - $8.60 ($2,852) - $110.55
6 - Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) - $7.68 ($4,703) - $67.24
7 - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Screen Gems) - $7.20 ($2,447) - $32.78
8 - New in Town (Lionsgate) - $6.75 ($3,478) - $6.75
9 - My Bloody Valentine (Lionsgate) - $4.26 ($3,030) - $44.61
10 - Inkheart (New Line) - $3.70 ($1,394) - $12.79

Next week is a bit of a cluster-something-something, with Henry Selick's Coraline, the sci-fi actioner Push, Steve Martin's The Pink Panther 2, and the high-profile rom-com He's Just Not That Into You going head-to-head on at least 2,000 screens each. And sneaking into 40 locations, at long last, will be Fanboys.